Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Bill McKibben's Posts


Seeing red

Glenn Beck says is part of a communist plot

Say this for Glenn Beck: He works fast. Less than 48 hours after we at launched our campaign to let businesses say that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce doesn't represent them, Beck hit back. A true friend of Chamber (here's a picture of him broadcasting from the group's roof -- certainly worth the $10,000 he donated from his $32 million annual earnings), he put little old up on his notorious board Friday night next to a hammer and sickle. We were part of a communistic conspiracy that also included the Apollo Alliance and the Service Employees International Union. In some …


Money Pollution

The Chamber of Commerce is darkening our skies

It's always darkest before it goes pitch black.Photo: Twig is the FutureThis essay was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom's kind permission. In Beijing, they celebrate when they have a "blue sky day," when, that is, the haze clears long enough so that you can actually see the sun.  Many days, you can't even make out the next block. Washington, by contrast, looks pretty clean: white marble monuments; broad, tree-lined avenues; the beautiful, green spread of the Mall. But its inhabitants -- at least those who vote in Congress -- can't see any more clearly than …


Giving the coal shoulder

Behind the scenes in the big fight against coal

Down with coal!The climate fight hasn't been going well lately. The Copenhagen conference in Dec. 2009 seemed to mark the effective end of international efforts to control carbon. The U.S. Senate couldn't even bring itself to vote on cap-and-trade last summer. In November, a GOP committed to climate denial won new strength in the Congress. Right now, the House is busy trying to strip the EPA of the right to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Oh, and 2010 was the warmest year on record. But there is one fight that's gone very much the right way, and it holds lessons for …


wishful sphinxing

Climate hawks can draw inspiration from the Egyptians

Now they've got another reason to cheer.Photo: We rejoice with our brothers and sisters in Egypt at the news that Hosni Mubarak has resigned. Egypt has been a big part of the 350 movement from the very first video we ever did, which showed the 350 pennant floating from the pyramids. But we rejoice even more at the example they set for the rest of the world, and implicitly for those of us engaged in the climate fight. A real people's movement -- a massive, broad-based, honest movement that doesn't focus on elites, but instead on the whole population …

Read more: Climate Change, Politics


2011 is looking a lot like 2012 the movie

Crazy storms highlight the crazy climate mess we’re in

A hard snow's a-gonna fall.Photo: 350.orgIf you were in the space shuttle looking down yesterday, you would have seen a pair of truly awesome, even fearful, sights. Much of North America was obscured by a 2,000-mile storm dumping vast quantities of snow from Texas to Maine -- between the wind and snow, forecasters described it as "probably the worst snowstorm ever to affect" Chicago, and said waves as high as 25 feet were rocking buoys on Lake Michigan. Meanwhile, along the shore of Queensland in Australia, the vast cyclone Yasi was sweeping ashore; though the storm hit at low tide, …


reality bites

Hey, Obama: You can't bargain with the climate

Chemistry and physics don't give us much time, and they don't haggle.This essay was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom's kind permission. The U.N.'s big climate conference ended Saturday in Cancún, with claims of modest victory. "The U.N. climate talks are off the life-support machine," said Tim Gore of Oxfam. "Not as rancorous as last year's train wreck in Copenhagen," wrote the Guardian. Patricia Espinosa, the Mexican foreign minister who brokered the final compromise, described it as "the best we could achieve at this point in a long process." The conference did indeed make progress on …


Get (sm)art

350 EARTH pulls off world's biggest art project [PHOTOS & VIDEO]

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the biggest art project the planet has ever seen -- so big that in some places we needed to back up into outer space for enough perspective. These pictures are the product of tens of thousands of people, some of whom have been working hard for six months, and they’re the product of a kind of faith. No one knew what they would look like because no one had ever done anything quite like them before. But everyone who’s seen them this past week has gasped -- they’ve sensed, perhaps, the fundamental truth of the …

Read more: Climate & Energy


A change of art

World's biggest art installation will call for climate action

Let's imagine an alien or two, monitoring a roster of planets from some distant galaxy. "Hang on, Xloopi," one might say. "That third rock out -- if the instruments are working, their atmosphere is on the fritz. CO2 is climbing 2 parts per million a year. What do you think is going on?" "Two possibilities, Kkar. Either they've gotten careless with their fossil fuels, or they're going in for mosquito-ranching in a very big way." If anyone actually is watching from afar, what they're seeing isn't pretty. Scientists have tried to warn us that the Earth is warming, but so far …

Read more: Climate & Energy


A perfect 10/10/10

Forget the Tea Party. Join a Work Party.

In Barbados last year, over 350 volunteers planted 350 trees in 350 seconds.Photo: 350.orgWe lied. I've been telling reporters for days that "we've organized more than 7,000 events" for's huge Global Work Party on Sunday, a figure that represents by far the most widespread day of civic engagement on any issue at any time in the planet's history. (We're still missing Equatorial Guinea and North Korea on our roster of countries, in case you have any leads.) The 7,000 figure isn't a fib -- in fact, it's deeply conservative, since lots of people are holding events they haven't managed …


There's no time like the president

White House gets into 10/10/10 spirit with solar-panel plan

Bill McKibben and crew smiled as they set off on their road trip to convince the White House to put solar panels back on the roof. Three weeks later, the White House announced they were reintroducing solar panels.Photo: via FlickrLooking back a few weeks, we were bitterly disappointed when the White House failed to act on our request that they put solar panels back on the roof. But in truth, I'm almost happy that they waited. Today's announcement that the Obamas will be taking their showers and cooking their breakfast courtesy of the sun could not have come at …